Mikel Arteta’s first XI as Arsenal boss and what happened next

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Mikel Arteta entered the scene as Arsenal manager in December 2019 following the sacking of Unai Emery.

Freddie Ljungberg left his Under-23 job at Hale End and was appointed interim manager, picking up where Emery left off.

Next in the same unfortunate form, the two-time Premier League winner has won just one of his six games in charge, signaling the appointment of a new head coach.

Ljungberg handed over the reins to Arteta after former assistant coach Pep Guardiola left Manchester City mid-season in search of a new challenge.

There was a dawn of excitement and thrill in the air when Arteta was announced, having been instrumental in the city’s 100-point Premier League season.

Arteta’s first clash as Arsenal head coach was at Bournemouth on Boxing Day, which saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score an equalizer in the second half to save a 1-1 draw.

Since making his debut as Gunners boss, Arteta has taken on a roller coaster of challenges, leading Arsenal 58 times and securing 27 wins.

The Spanish team have since continued to evolve and mold themselves around the philosophies and principles of Arteta that he brings to the club, with many new faces now coming through the door to the Emirates.

With the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Mesut Ozil now a thing of the past, here’s a look at Arteta’s first starting 11 and what happened next.

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Goalkeeper – Leno

Bernd Leno started between the sticks for the Gunners in Arteta’s opener in charge, putting Emiliano Martinez on the bench.

Although he didn’t play a single minute for Arsenal that season outside of the FA Cup, Martinez played a central role in the Gunners’ 2-1 triumph over Chelsea in the final.

The Argentine’s outstanding performances made fans wonder how their club hadn’t made better use of him. Despite his valiant efforts between the sticks for Arsenal, Martinez left the Gunners in the same summer for Aston Villa in a shrewd deal worth £ 16million in search of first-team football.

Meanwhile, Leno remains with Arsenal – although he has been linked with a move this summer – and traveled with Germany for Euro 2020 as Manuel Neuer’s replacement.



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Defenders – Maitland Niles, Luiz, Sokratis (Mustafi), Saka

Sokratis started under Arteta in his first game as Arsenal manager and only made ten more appearances for the club before finally leaving in January 2021 for Olympiacos on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old center-half played 23 times for the Greek side since arriving earlier this year before winning the Greek Super League by 26 points.

David Luiz was also Arteta’s defense in his first game in charge and, like Martinez, was central to Arsenal’s FA Cup glory against Chelsea in 2020.

The Brazilian was instrumental in changing Arteta’s system in the FA Cup final as he sat resolutely in the middle of the last three, resurrecting his best years under Antonio Conte against his former club. He left the club this summer when his contract expired.

Shrokdan Mustafi was on the bench before being replaced by Sokratis in the 77th minute.

The 2014 German World Cup winner remained at Arsenal until returning to his childhood club, Schalke, on a free transfer in an effort to save the club from relegation. However, the 29-year-old defender is now a free agent having been released by the club following his relegation to 2. Bundesliga.

Bukayo Saka was also included on the left of the four full-backs, and his has since become an Arsenal regular, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles spent time on loan at West Brom last season and his future remains uncertain.

Midfielder – Torreira, Xhaka, Ozil (J. Willock)

At the end of the summer transfer window, Arsenal could find themselves without either of these four midfielders.

The Telegraph reported in May 2021 that Newcastle United were preparing a £ 20million offer for the signing of Willock following his impressive loan spell at the Magpies.

The 21-year-old midfielder has played 14 times in the Premier League for Newcastle, scoring eight goals, including seven in successive appearances.

Willock went on to provide security for the Magpies in the Premier League and won the Premier League Player of the Month award in May 2021.

Ozil left the Emirates in January 2021 for a free transfer to Fenerbahce and has since made 11 appearances for the Turkish side, registering an assist.

Lucas Torreira joined Atletico Madrid on a one-season loan in October 2020, as the Uruguayan midfielder wants to leave north London.



BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Lucas Torreira of Arsenal and Jefferson Lerma of Bournemouth during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth / AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)
Lucas Torreira of Arsenal and Jefferson Lerma of Bournemouth in Premier League clash

The 25-year-old father spoke to TyC SPorts (via Evening Standard) in April 2021 and said his son is keen to join the children’s club, Boca Juniors.

Torriera’s father said: “We want to resolve Arsenal’s departure first, then sit down with Boca. If they think it’s convenient for Lucas to be the player, they will exhaust resources to reach a deal. .

“Obviously Boca will have to spend, Arsenal will want something in return. But it’s not that Lucas is going to lose value by coming to Boca.

Granit Xhaka also seems to be getting closer and closer to the Emirates. football.london understand AS Roma are set to sign the 28-year-old midfielder for £ 20million, although Juventus have been credited with showing interest in recent days.

Forwards – Nelson (Pepe), Aubameyang, Lacazette

The first goalscorer and captain of Arteta’s tenure at Arsenal was Aubameyang, who has become one of the club’s Spanish manager’s most trusted players.

The 32-year-old forward, known for his electrifying pace, has scored 31 goals in 61 appearances under Arteta, while registering six assists.

Aubameyang has two more years on his current contract with the Emirates, having signed a new contract with the club in January 2021. The Gabon international has blamed Arteta for the extension of his stay.

Alexandre Lacazette is entering the last year of his contract at Arsenal, while Reiss Nelson ends in 2023 and Nicolas Pepe ends in 2024.

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